Telepathic Time-Traveling Robots in Space

Hollywood’s Predictions for the Next 50 Years

1 min read
Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy

Photo: Alamy
2028: Defying its falling population, Detroit manages to maintain a sufficient supply of mean streets to justify buying a cyborg to clean them up.
RoboCop, 2014
7/13

Many futuristic moviesare vague about the year in which their action takes place. But other movies are willing to nail their colors to the mast, predicting specific technologies in specific years. Some of these visions—like the soaring skylines of Metropolis—have already come to pass, while others—like the hoverboards of Back to the Future II—seem likely to miss the mark. But some of the underlying themes have a timeless appeal.

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How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page
Blue

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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